The Postal Service Survived the Election. But It Was Crushed by Holiday Packages.

In December, amid a crush of packages and record numbers of coronavirus cases, service performance across the U.S. Postal Service network plummeted to the lowest levels in years, with only about 64 percent of first-class mail delivered on time around Christmas.

The Postal Service was under scrutiny for months leading up to the election, when many feared that delays from operational changes would hamper the counting of mail-in ballots. By many measures, the Postal Service ultimately succeeded in delivering ballots quickly. But over the weeks that followed, during the peak holiday package season, the network grew more and more backlogged.

“Under some of the most difficult circumstances we’ve faced in the past century, the U.S. Postal Service successfully processed and delivered both a record number of mail-in ballots and a record number of holiday packages for the American people, amidst a global pandemic,” said Kim Frum, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service, in a statement that acknowledged the slow mail delivery in December.

The Postal Service delivered more than 135 million ballots and more than 1.1 billion holiday packages. But those extraordinary challenges have broadly strained the network.


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This was no big secret and should have been, in planning, back in spring of 2020, when this pandemic started. More people at home ordering more online. Don’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Po management waits until November to realize there might be a rush. Dips! Give em a bonus!